Article Title

Theodicy and Animals


It is widely acknowledged among those philosophers and theologians who have given the matter much thought that the fact of animal suffering challenges Theism in a distinctive way. Standard attempts to reconcile human suffering with a perfectly powerful and benevolent deity don’t seem to apply easily to the case of animals. Animals can hardly be said to deserve their suffering or be morally improved by it, nor is it generally supposed that animals will be compensated for their pain in an afterlife. On the face of it, then, animal pain appears to be a bothersome evil still left over when all the theodicy work is done. I would like to consider some of the attempts to deal with animal suffering in theodicy, showing why each ultimately fails. Rather than attempting to provide the successful theodicy myself, I will try to show what the theodicies reveal about the relationship between Theism and moral attitudes toward animals.

Included in

Philosophy Commons